A fictional fat cat famously proclaimed that “diet is die with a t,” but making some dietary adjustments just might reverse potentially harmful conditions such as type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, one in four Americans over 60 years of age has type 2 diabetes, the form of diabetes directly related to lifestyle factors such as weight. By 2020, one in two Americans could be considered pre-diabetic if this trend continues. Diabetes doesn’t have to be a life sentence – at least according to new research suggesting that changing your diet may reverse the condition. And you don’t have to give up all the foods you love either.
It’s Not All or Nothing
When you first get the diagnosis that you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor likely gives you a bunch of information. Sorting through brochures, charts, graphs, and recommended diets can be confusing and overwhelming. When it comes to losing weight to either prevent diabetes or to control or reserve the condition, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can drop your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels significantly. A study in Diabetologia, a medical journal, suggests that type 2 diabetes can be reversed within 1-8 weeks if certain dietary adjustments are made. This should include some form of exercise too.
In 1793, a ship carrying a cargo of sugar and rum was marooned for nine days. The crew had nothing but the ship’s cargo to live on until they were rescued. When help finally arrived, only five crew members were alive. All were severely malnourished and dehydrated. This is one of the first incidents proving that humans weren’t meant to live on a steady diet of sugar. The importance of reducing processed sugar from your diet was recently in the spotlight again thanks to a study linking an over dependence on sugar to various health issues, including diabetes. This doesn’t mean eliminating all sugar, especially since our bodies need certain sugars in order to function. A low-gylcemic diet focuses on replacing processed sugars with natural sugars. The basic principles of such a diet include:
- Eat non-starchy veggies and fruits – Apples, pears, peaches, and most berries generally fit into this category.
- • Eat grains with little processing – This means skipping white rice and opting for brown rice. The same goes for oatmeal and bread. Generally, anything that has been stripped of its basic nutrients for the sake of processing is off limits.
- Smaller portions of processed foods – You don’t have to give up pasta and white bread all together, just relegate these items to side dishes rather than the main course.
- Limited concentrated sweets – This means that ice cream should be an occasional treat rather than your standard dessert. The same goes for fruit juices and pre-sweetened beverages, including most carbonated beverages.
- Three squares plus two snacks – Three meals a day plus two snacks has been the dietary standard for years, and for good reason – it works. This means don’t skip breakfast. When you’re hungry, you tend to load up your plate.
Changing your diet to reserve diabetes boils down to moderation and finding healthy substitutes. You can even enjoy takeout now and then. You just want to avoid a high intake of carbohydrates. This means you can still have pizza as long as you opt for a healthier version such as a thin crust pizza. You can have two or three slices without too much worry, if you skip the Pepsi and opt for water or low-fat milk instead. Don’t look at a diet as some form of punishment that you have to suffer through, but rather as a positive adjustment for your own good. Even a certain fat cat would agree with that.
Geni Paxton is a freelance blogger and occasionally writes for delivery.com, a site she loves using to find a local Delivery Chinese Restaurant using their Delivery NYC directory.
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